Zae Baneza, Ulfia Dwi and Adi Ahdiat, Jakarta – On Sunday September 1 the police arrested a number of Papuan students in Jakarta on charges of treason (makar).
Not long after this, the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) issued a press release stating that the police were conducting sweeps.
"The police force should initiate measures in respond to the conflict in Papua such as efforts at dialogue and peace. Not instead conducting sweeps of dormitories and arbitrarily arresting Papuan students", explained LBH Jakarta Chairperson Nelson Simamora in a written release on Sunday.
"We are concerned that the excessive actions being taken by the police could worsen the problems related to Papua which are currently taking place", continued Simamora.
Indonesian police (Polri) spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo then "reprehended" to the LBH Jakarta statement. According to Prasetyo, the police have not been conducting sweeps but rather, have been securing and monitoring the situation at Papuan student dormitories.
"It's not true (the sweeping), actually Polri is ensuring the security of all residents, [including] the Papuan students seeking knowledge. What are the grounds (for saying there were sweeps)?. If LBH makes fake news we will prosecute them", said Prasetyo at the national police's public relations office in Jakarta on Monday September 2.
Accused of separatism
Earlier, LBH Jakarta and several of its offices in other cities were even "protested" in relation to the Papua cases they are handling.
The protesters came from a number of different groups who demonstrated at the LBH offices accusing the foundation of supporting the Papuan separatist movement.
"Yes there were around 50 (demonstrators) more or less between 2 pm and 5 pm, it was like they were taking turns. The first group was from the Red-and-White Alliance, the second from Kompak and the third, I don't know where they were from. Our friends at LBH Makassar [South Sulawesi], LBH Surabaya [East Java] and LBH Bandung [West Java] were also targeted by demonstrations and the issue was the same", LBH Jakarta Director Arif Maulana told KBR on Friday August 30.
Maulana suspects that LBH is being scapegoated by certain people.
Maulana added that so far that there has been no damage at or near the LBH offices, although he said that the demonstrations caused considerable disruption to LBH's public services.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Sebut Polisi 'Sweeping' Mahasiswa Papua, Polri Ancam Pidanakan LBH Jakarta".]